Additional Changes to the Schedule of Operations Regulations
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is amending the meat and poultry product regulations pertaining to the schedule of operations. FSIS is amending these regulations to define the 8-hour workday as including time that inspection program personnel need to prepare the inspection station, if necessary, or retrieve and return lot tally sheets; the time necessary for FSIS inspection program personnel to sharpen knives, if necessary; and the time necessary to conduct duties scheduled by FSIS, including administrative activities. The activities are integral and indispensable to inspectors' work and are part of the continuous workday as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act. Therefore, they are activities that need to be part of the Agency's regulatory definition for the 8-hour workday.
Testing of Product Samples for Listeria monocytogenes: Changes in Procedures
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing changes in procedures for Listeria (L.) monocytogenes product sampling programs in ready-to-eat (RTE) meat and poultry products. Starting 60 days after issuance of this notice, FSIS will increase the number of product samples it collects under its Routine Risk-based L. monocytogenes (RLm) Sampling Program and its Intensified Verification Testing (IVT) protocol from three to five samples per sampling unit. In addition, FSIS laboratories will composite the five 25-g product samples from the RLm sampling program, which will increase the sample size of the analyzed test portion from 25 g to 125 g. The Agency is effecting these changes to make its sampling procedures more consistent with international practices, to conserve its laboratory resources, and to improve public health. FSIS invites comments on these changes to its sampling programs.
Availability of FSIS Salmonella Compliance Guidelines for Small and Very Small Meat and Poultry Establishments That Produce Ready-to-Eat Products
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing the availability of a revised compliance guide for small and very small meat and poultry establishments on the safe production of ready-to-eat (RTE) meat and poultry products with respect to Salmonella and other pathogens. FSIS has posted this compliance guide on its Significant Guidance Documents Web page (http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Significant_ Guidance/index.asp). FSIS encourages small and very small meat and poultry establishments that manufacture these products to avail themselves of this guidance document.
Risk-Based Sampling of Beef Manufacturing Trimmings for Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7 and Plans for Beef Baseline
FSIS is announcing its intention to redesign its E. coli O157:H7 verification testing program for beef manufacturing trimmings to make the program more risk-based and to enable the Agency to calculate on-going statistical prevalence estimates for E. coli O157:H7 in raw beef manufacturing trimmings. This notice also discusses FSIS's plans to perform a beef carcass baseline. FSIS seeks public comment on its plans, which have been developed in response to a 2011 audit by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Inspector General (OIG) of FSIS's protocol for N-60 sampling of beef manufacturing trimmings for E. coli O157:H7. This notice also announces changes that FSIS has made to its beef manufacturing trimmings program to increase both the collection rate and the likelihood that FSIS will find positive samples. Finally, this notice summarizes a 2012 OIG report and the actions that FSIS has taken to address the recommendations in that report.
Codex Alimentarius Commission: Meeting of the Codex Committee on Fish and Fishery Products
The Office of the Under Secretary for Food Safety, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), are sponsoring a public meeting on September 6, 2012. The objective of the public meeting is to provide information and receive public comments on agenda items and draft United States (U.S.) positions that will be discussed at the 32nd session of the Codex Committee on Fish and Fishery Products (CCFFP) of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), which will be held in Bali, Indonesia from October 1-5, 2012. The Under Secretary for Food Safety, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Food and Drug Administration recognize the importance of providing interested parties the opportunity to obtain background information on the 32nd session of the CCFFP and to address items on the agenda.